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Planning Problems with Platted Lands

Authors: Hubert Stroud*, Arkansas State University
Topics: Land Use, Planning Geography
Keywords: site selection, pre-platted communities, Florida:Southwest
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Several decades ago, interstate land sales companies generated large profits from the sale of potential home sites within large pre-platted subdivisions. All too often, developers of these subdivisions made poor site selection decisions and ignored many environmental constraints. This paper uses case studies to illustrate some of the more significant problems associated with these ill-conceived subdivisions. One of the best examples is Cape Coral, Florida, a 60,000 acre subdivision that occupies a large, environmentally sensitive tract of land across the Caloosahatchee River from Fort Myers. Rapid growth and development of this low-lying peninsula has put a large segment of the population at risk of flooding during intense thunderstorms and hurricanes. According to Riley Tuff, the Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Cape Coral, there are approximately 30,000 homes in the southern portion of the peninsula that have an elevation of 5 feet or less above sea level. This means that a large segment of the population is vulnerable to storm surge inundation from hurricanes. Some of the more significant protection measures that are being considered by local officials include managed relocation, increasing the elevation of homes, improving drainage and landscape retention, and the elevation of roads that will be used during an evacuation. Unfortunately, many of these options are cost prohibitive and are not likely to be implemented anytime soon. As a result, Cape Coral residents remain unprotected and have no feasible option other than to heed storm warnings and evacuate before it is too late.

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